After playing football for various clubs in the Paris region and a stint in the Louhans Cuiseaux training center, Yassine Askri went on to hold various positions (educator, coach, and technical director). After acquiring different skills, he turned to the profession of football player agent, which he has been practicing for the past 6 years.
How did the desire to become a player agent come about?
Yassine Askri: First of all, I acquired a certain professional stability. In addition, with my different past experiences, I had the opportunity to see and get to know many football players. It was time for me to change my perspective and try to accompany football players myself. Some of these players were poorly surrounded and poorly advised, and their parents do not necessarily know the field. Naturally, we say to ourselves, why not me? Why not get my FIFA football agent license and accompany them as best I can? At the time, this player agent profession was not known, for some it was not even considered such. I wanted to take a step up and was hesitating between being a football recruiter or becoming a player agent. I opted for the second option because I wanted to maintain a certain independence.
What methodology should be adopted to pass the player agent license?
Yassine Askri: The French Football Federation does not provide training to pass the football agent exam, which is inconsistent. You cannot propose an exam without prior training. So, I had to approach private organizations. I paid for my one-year training. There were face-to-face and distance learning courses to prepare for the football player agent exam, particularly at the legal level.
In the beginning, I was overwhelmed, but it is open to everyone. You have to lock yourself in, you have to study, and that's what I did to obtain my football agent license on the first attempt.
At first, I thought it was impossible though. I stopped school quite early, there is a big legal part, and I thought a lot before committing because it had a cost. However, I was really motivated because, with my experience, and my hardships, I told myself that I was going to get this player agent diploma. Some people in my class had done long studies, law, etc., and did not manage to obtain it. This proves that it is a question of desire and determination, no matter what your background is.
What are the fundamentals when starting in this football player agent profession?
Yassine Askri: Patience and network. In the beginning, you won't make a living out of it. It takes time to get your first commission. I got my first commission a year later thanks to an opportunity I seized through my network. It was Ousmane Kanté who signed his first professional contract at 26 with Paris FC.
However, in general, you get your first commission after 2-3 years, and some don't earn anything for a while and have to wait. This happens especially when dealing with young football players. Regarding the network, it is trust that is given to you because you have proven yourself. When you call someone, they know you are reliable. Once you have these two things, anything is possible. You should not count your time or your money. Money comes and goes, time does not come back. If you get a football player at 16 and he follows the classic path (aspiring contract, intern, and pro), you will only earn money from his professional contract.
How do you approach football players? And how do you decide to work with players?
Yassine Askri: I started by going to watch national-level matches (U17/U19). Today, I prefer to watch reserve teams of professional clubs. Networking can be done through social media. Nowadays, we have access to almost all football players. Generally, the first contact is made to ask for the parents' or legal representative's number. Additionally, I have the particularity of only needing 5 minutes to know if I like a football player or not, while some people have to watch a full match or even several matches. However, with experience, I have learned not to rely solely on on-field performances. The most important factors are a player's mental and behavioral capabilities. If a football player has talent but lacks the right mindset, it will be difficult to overcome tough times.
Do you also organize football player scouting events?
Yassine Askri: I organize professional scouting events with the presence of different clubs and licensed player agents. It allows some young players to have opportunities or a second chance. It also allows for the observation of several football players in a short period of time and in some cases, to retrieve players that you will take care of if they are unaccompanied.
Any advice for those who wish to obtain the FIFA player agent license?
Yassine Askri: Besides working hard, it is essential to create a network well before taking the FIFA agent license and gain the trust of your contacts. This allows you to have a diploma and, unlike intermediaries or advisors, if one of my football players signs with a professional club, I do not need anyone to receive my commission.
Interview conducted by Abdelwahab Hamed for SportsAgent Institute on April 11, 2022.